Institute of Global Innovation Research



Institute of Global Innovation Research



Yearly archive

Yearly archive

[FOOD] Umezawa Team

Functional and biochemical interactions between abiotic and biotic stress responses in plants

Team Head

Taishi Umezawa

Affiliation Institute of Agriculture
Division / Department Division of Sciences for Biological System
Position Professor

Foreign Researcher(s)

Scott C. Peck

Affiliation University of Missouri (U.S.A.)
Division / Department Department of Biochemistry
Position Professor

Jeffrey Anderson

Affiliation Oregon State University (U.S.A.)
Division / Department Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Position Assistant Professor

Vojislava Grbic

Affiliation University of Western, Ontario (Canada)
Division / Department Department of Biology
Position Associate Professor

Jose Barrero

Affiliation Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (Australia)
Division / Department Cereal Gene Discovery
Position Team Leader


Izumi Nishidate (Institute of Engineering / Associate Professor), Takeshi Suzuki ((Institute of Global Innovation / Organization for Promotion of Tennure-track System / Associate Professor)


Plant growth is often limited by adverse environmental conditions, which is classified briefly to biotic (pathogen, insects etc.) and abiotic stresses (drought, salinity, temperature etc.). Although previous studies had uncovered various molecular mechanisms to stress responses in plants, recent studies discovered multiple stress response pathways crosstalk each other at signaling level. We are trying to understand the mechanism of signal crosstalk between biotic and abiotic stresses in plants, for molecular breeding of stress tolerant plants in the future.


Biotic and abiotic stresses are major concerns for agriculture worldwide, and they are often combined in field conditions. To understand the mechanism(s) of stress responses in plants, it should be important to clarify how plants respond to biotic stress and abiotic stress at the same time. In general, it is known that biotic stress and abiotic stress compete each other to induce responses in plants. However, further studies are required to understand how those two stresses crosstalk each other at signaling level. This project mainly focuses on a phytohormone, abscisic acid (ABA), because it has a critical role in response to abiotic stress, as well as to biotic stress. We are studying on some ABA signaling factors to understand how they transduce signals to other signaling pathways such as defense or some other hormones. In addition, we are developing evaluation methods of stress tolerance of plants using imaging technologies.


1. MAP kinase cascades involving in stress responses of plants
MAP kinase (MAPK) is a family of protein kinase which are well conserved in eukaryotes and involved in various signaling pathways. It has been well known that MAPKs are important signaling components for biotic or abiotic stress in plants. Generally, MAPK is activated by MAPK kinase (MAPKK), and MAPKK is phosphorylated by MAPKK kinase (MAPKKK). In this study, we are analyzing MAPKKK, MAPKK and MAPKs involved in ABA signaling and defense signaling.

2. Evaluation of stress tolerance in plants
Plants can avoid from drought stress or heat stress by movement (positioning or tropism) or transpiration (radiation). We are developing an evaluation method of stress tolerance of whole plants by measuring plant height, leaf position and temperature using 3D sensor or thermography. In addition, we are developing a hyperspectral imaging method using a normal RGB sensor to evaluate stress tolerance of plants.


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